Nearly two-thirds of all Institute of Technical Education (ITE) courses will start offering enhanced internships next year, Acting Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills) Ong Ye Kung announced yesterday.
An initiative under the national SkillsFuture movement, the internships facilitate better mentorship and allow students to learn clearly defined skills, and are a component of full-time Nitec or Higher Nitec courses offered by the ITE.
Mr Ong noted that internships are a starting point for students to explore the vocations they are interested in.
A total of 63 of ITE's 101 courses, including those in retail services and space design technology, will offer such internships from as early as January. By 2020, all ITE courses will have them, with durations for most ranging from three to six months. ITE chief executive Bruce Poh told The Straits Times: "We can do as much as we like to make classroom learning as authentic as possible, but there is nothing like working in a real environment."
He added that such internships allow students to put into practice the work-related skills learnt in school, as well as help them acquire soft skills such as creativity.
Students will undergo training based on a prescribed list of tasks agreed upon by ITE and the internship firm, and the roles and responsibilities of ITE and these companies will also be clearly stated.
More than 370 companies will offer the placements. Some 110 of them, from sectors such as hospitality, engineering, business, and infocomm technology, inked agreements with ITE at Crowne Plaza Changi Airport hotel yesterday.
They include the Fullerton Hotel, PSA Marine, OCBC Bank, Sentosa Development Corporation, SBS Transit and SMRT.
Mr Sunshine Wong, general manager of Crowne Plaza Changi Airport hotel, one of the companies that will offer the internships, said that in the past, internships only "bring students through the basics". He added that interns may soon be able to sit in management meetings to gain exposure to the hotel's operations.
Ms Cynthia Yong, 19, who is pursuing a Higher Nitec in hospitality operations, is on a six-month internship at the hotel. "The internship exposes us to real-world situations," she said. "There are often learning points to gain from the unexpected challenges that may arise."